McDevitt announces first non-conference schedule

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Middle Tennessee Head Men's Basketball Coach Nick McDevitt revealed Wednesday the 13-game non-conference portion of the Blue Raiders' 2018-19 schedule. More from the Voice of the Blue Raiders, Chip Walters:



Featuring a match-up against Ole Miss at Bridgestone Arena and a Thanksgiving trip to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis, Middle Tennessee will host five games in the Murphy Center and face four true road tests.

Of the four true road contests, two will take place in Nashville at Belmont and Vanderbilt, giving Middle Tennessee fans eight opportunities to cheer on the Blue Raiders in the midstate.

"It's great that we have eight games in Murfreesboro or Nashville," Director of Athletics Chris Massaro said. "It's always important for us to reach our alumni all over the midstate and this schedule gives them ample opportunities to watch us in a variety of venues."

The Blue Raiders open the season with back-to-back home contests against Lees-McRae on Nov. 6 and Milligan on Nov. 9. The opener will tip at 6:30 p.m. while MT's Friday contest against Milligan will serve as the annual Education Day game and will tip at 11:00 a.m.

The Blue Raiders stay close to home for their first road trip of the season, facing their first of three Nashville foes when they take on Belmont on Nov. 12 at Curb Event Center. MT then returns home to host Charleston Southern on Nov. 16 before departing for the Bahamas.

The Blue Raiders open up the Battle 4 Atlantis against last season's No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, Virginia, on Nov. 21. MT will face either Butler or Dayton on Nov. 22 and finish out their stay on Paradise Island on Nov. 23 against Florida, Oklahoma, Stanford or Wisconsin.

Upon returning to the mainland, Middle Tennessee takes on its second Nashville foe of the year, this time as the home team. The Blue Raiders will host Lipscomb, the reigning Atlantic Sun Champions, on Dec. 1 as the teams meet for the first time since 2007 and just the second time in the last 27 seasons.

MT heads back up Interstate 24 on Dec. 5 to face Vanderbilt at Memorial Coliseum for the second season in a row, bringing a 3-point win back to Murfreesboro last season.

The Murphy Center will play host to one more non-conference meeting on Dec. 8 as Middle Tennessee hosts long-time Ohio Valley foe Murray State on Dec. 8.

The Blue Raiders close out non-conference play with road trips to Toledo (Dec. 15) and Rhode Island (Dec. 30) sandwiched around the Dec. 21 match-up against Ole Miss at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

All in all, the 2018 non-conference schedule includes four NCAA Tournament teams already, but could end up totaling as many as six depending on who the Blue Raiders draw in the second and third rounds of the Battle 4 Atlantis.

"We are excited to continue the tradition of putting together strong non-conference schedules here at Middle Tennessee," McDevitt said. "It will be a challenging schedule that will put our team to the test week in and week out."

Middle Tennessee returns to Conference USA play on Jan. 3 with a home contest against FIU. The Raiders will also host Florida Atlantic, UTSA, UTEP, UAB, Charlotte and Old Dominion in league play with two more home contests in the flex portion of the C-USA schedule at the end of the regular season.

Season tickets go on sale on Sep. 10 and can be purchased by contacting the Blue Raider ticket office at (615) 898-5261, ordering online at GoBlueRaiders.com/Tickets or visiting the ticket office located in Gate 1A of Floyd Stadium.

"Having the Murphy Center full on game days is extremely important," McDevitt added. "Our players feed off energy from the crowd. When the arena is packed and our fans get involved in the game the players feel that energy, so the Murphy Center being our sixth man will be important all year long."

Fans looking to purchase tickets or travel packages for the Battle 4 Atlantis can visit AtlantisBahamas.com/b4a or call the box office at (242) 363-6601.

Schedule Notes

  • The Blue Raiders will be facing three non-conference opponents (Lees-McRae, Charleston Southern and Rhode Island) for the first time, and could extend that tally to four first-time opponents if they draw Oklahoma, Stanford or Wisconsin in the final round of the Battle 4 Atlantis
  • Middle Tennessee and Belmont will be facing off for the 15th consecutive season, the longest such streak for the Blue Raiders outside of current Conference USA and former Sun Belt foes FIU and North Texas, both of whom MT is facing for the 19th consecutive season
  • Despite meeting for just the second time since the 1991-92 season, Middle Tennessee and Lipscomb will be renewing a rivalry that has been played 51 times previously, making it MT's 10th most played rivalry in men's basketball history
  • When the Blue Raiders and Murray State Racers face off on December 8 it will mark the 141st meeting between the longtime OVC rivals, making it tied for the most-played rivalry in MT history alongside MT and Tennessee Tech's 141 meetings


Opponents

Lees-McRae
Date: November 6
Location: Murphy Center
Series Record: First Meeting
Last Meeting: N/A
2017-18 Record: 23-9 Overall, 13-5 Conference Carolinas
Notes: 2018 Conference Carolinas Tournament Champion

Milligan
Date: November 9
Location: Murphy Center
Series Record: MT leads 9-2
Last Meeting: Nov. 11, 2016 - MT 102, Milligan 64
2017-18 Record: 15-14 Overall, 13-7 Appalachian Athletic Conference
Notes: Earned 2018 NAIA National Tournament berth

Belmont
Date: November 12
Location: Curb Event Center (Nashville, Tenn.)
Series Record: MT leads 22-16
Last Meeting: Nov. 16, 2017 - MT 63, Belmont 69
2017-18 Record: 24-9 Overall, 15-3 Ohio Valley Conference
Notes: Finished second in the OVC in 2018

Charleston Southern
Date: November 16
Location: Murphy Center
Series Record: First Meeting
Last Meeting: N/A
2017-18 Record: 15-16 Overall, 9-9 Big South Conference
Notes: Return Top 3 scorers from 2017-18 in Christian Keeling (17.6), Philandrous Felming (10.6) and Travis McConico (10.2)

Virginia
Date: November 21
Location: Imperial Arena (Paradise Island, Bahamas)
Series Record: UVA leads 1-0
Last Meeting: March 18, 1989 - MT 88, Virginia 104
2017-18 Record: 31-3 Overall, 17-1 Atlantic Coast Conference
Notes: Won 2018 ACC regular season and tournament titles and earned No. 1 overall seed in 2018 NCAA Tournament

Lipscomb
Date: December 1
Location: Murphy Center
Series Record: MT leads 32-19
Last Meeting: Nov. 16, 2007 - MT 68, Lipscomb 62
2017-18 Record: 23-10 Overall, 10-4 Atlantic Sun
Notes: Won 2018 Atlantic Sun Tournament title

Vanderbilt
Date: December 5
Location: Memorial Gymnasium (Nashville, Tenn.)
Series Record: VU leads 29-7
Last Meeting: Dec. 6, 2017 - MT 66, Vanderbilt 63
2017-18 Record: 12-20 Overall, 6-12 Southeastern Conference
Notes: Brings in highly-ranked recruiting class that includes 5-star Brentwood native Darius Garland

Murray State
Date: December 8
Location: Murphy Center
Series Record: MSU leads 103-37
Last Meeting: Nov. 13, 2017 - MT 72, Murray State 67
2017-18 Record: 26-6 Overall, 16-2 Ohio Valley Conference
Notes: Won 2018 OVC regular season and tournament titles

Toledo
Date: December 15
Location: Savage Arena (Toledo, Ohio)
Series Record: MT leads 4-1
Last Meeting: Nov. 26, 2016 - MT 73, Toledo 70 (OT)
2017-18 Record: 23-11 Overall, 13-5 Mid-American Conference
Notes: Won the 2018 MAC West Division title and advanced to the tournament championship game

Ole Miss
Date: December 21
Location: Bridgestone Arena (Nashville, Tenn.)
Series Record: MT leads 6-4
Last Meeting: Dec. 9, 2017 - MT 77, Ole Miss 58
2017-18 Record: 12-20 Overall, 5-13 Southeastern Conference
Notes: First year under former Middle Tennessee head coach Kermit Davis

Rhode Island
Date: December 30
Location: Ryan Center
Series Record: First Meeting
Last Meeting: N/A
2017-18 Record: 26-8 Overall, 15-3 Atlantic 10 Conference
Notes: Won the 2018 Atlantic 10 regular season title and defeated Oklahoma in the first round of the NCAA Tournament

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